Daniel 11:2 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
2. And now will I declare truth unto thee ] something which will be verified by the event (cf. Dan 10:21).
The four kings of Persia.
three kings ] the three kings following Cyrus (Dan 10:1) are Cambyses (b.c. 529 522), Gaumâta (Pseudo-Smerdis) 522 (for 7 months), and Darius Hystaspis (522 485). Gaumâta, however, might easily be disregarded by the writer: in this case, the third king would be Xerxes (485 465).
the fourth ] the fourth, following the ‘three’? or the fourth, including Cyrus (who is reigning at the time, Dan 10:1), i.e. the last of the ‘three’? The latter interpretation is the more probable one: otherwise, why was not ‘ four kings shall stand up’ said? In either case, the fourth king is Xerxes, Gaumâta being counted in the former case but not in the latter. On Xerxes’ wealth and strength, see Hdt. vii. 20 99 (the account of the immense armament prepared by him against Greece).
he shall stir up all (in conflict) with, &c.] he will set in motion ( Dan 11:25; Isa 13:17; Jer 50:9) all the men and forces of his vast empire. The allusion is to the well-known expedition against Greece, to which Xerxes devoted all his treasures and all his energies, and which ended in the disastrous defeat at Salamis, b.c. 480. The description of Greece as a ‘realm’ or kingdom, is, of course, inexact: Greece, in the age of Xerxes, consisted of a number of independent states, democracies or oligarchies; a Greek ‘kingdom’ did not arise till the days of Philip and Alexander of Macedon.
This consists of a survey of the history from the beginning of the Persian period down to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, followed by a description of the Messianic age, to begin afterwards. The description is brief and general in its earlier part, more detailed in the later parts. The angel first refers briefly to the doings of four Persian kings ( Dan 11:2), and of Alexander the Great ( Dan 11:3), with the division of his empire after his death ( Dan 11:4); then narrates more fully the leagues and conflicts between the kings of Antioch (‘the kings of the north’), and of Egypt (‘the kings of the south’), in the centuries following ( Dan 11:5-20); and finally, most fully of all, describes the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes ( Dan 11:21-45), including his conflicts with Egypt, and the persecution of the Jews ( Dan 11:30 b39). The death of Antiochus is followed by a resurrection (of Israelites), and the advent of the Messianic age (Dan 12:1-3). The revelation is intended to shew that the course of history is in God’s hands, and that though it may bring with it a period of trial for His people, this will be followed, at the appointed time, by its deliverance. It is thus designed particularly for the encouragement of those living in the season of trial, i.e. under the persecution of Antiochus; it is accordingly to be ‘sealed up’ by Daniel until then (Dan 12:4).
As is usual in apocalyptic literature (Enoch, Baruch, 2 Esdras, &c.), no names are mentioned; the characters and events referred to being described in veiled language, which sometimes leaves the interpretation uncertain. The Commentary of Jerome is important in this chapter, on account of its preserving notices from writers no longer extant.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".